House of the Rising Sun… 

There is a house in New Orleans. They call the rising sun, but I can’t seem to find it on this map. 

Today’s opshop crawl turned up a map of Storyville New Orleans. The notorious redlight district created to regulate prostitution and drugs in New Orleans from 1897 to 1917. I’ve got a thing for maps, not the kind of thing that requires googling the name of the disorder of getting obsessed and wanting to role naked in them, but just an atheistic attraction. They can be both utilitarian and decorative, sometimes in equal measure. In this case its utility is as a historical snapshot. A blotchy opaque window back in time, with a jazz soundtrack and a pearl handled derringer under a perfumed pillow, possibly with a touch of syphilis. 


It is a hand drawn 1940s copy of the original 1915 version. Streets, shops, brothels… The names of those trading in negotiatable affections are both mundane and fascinating.  I own far grander and more artistically embellished maps, but they fail to deliver a sense of place and time as well as this simple bureaucratic document. 

Perhaps that’s the lesson here, affectation is a distraction from the clarity that simplicity can achieve. 

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